Chile Plans to Crack Down on Trafficking Over Bolivia Border

Chilean authorities revealed a plan to combat drug and contraband trafficking by strengthening defenses along the country’s coastline and along the borders with Bolivia, Peru and Argentina.

According to Chile’s Interior Minister Hinzpeter, the country has become a nexus between drug-producing and drug-consuming countries. Thus far in 2011, more than seven tons of cocaine have been intercepted on Chilean ships arriving at European ports. In February of this year, U.S. authorities arrested members of a drug smuggling ring that included Rene Sanabria, former Bolivian drug czar, accused of trafficking drugs through Arica, a Chilean seaport located near the Peruvian border.

Hinzpeter announced results of a study that identified 140 overland routes used to traffic illicit drugs and materials across the country’s remote border regions. The study found 106 of these illegal routes along Chile’s shared border with Bolivia, 30 in the region that borders Peru and four along the country’s eastern border with Argentina.

The minister also provided details of Chile’s Northern Border Plan, which will involve using technology and manpower to monitor routes, inspect cargo at sea and land ports of entry and gather intelligence. The project also includes collaboration between Bolivian and Chilean police as established in a 2010 binational framework to jointly fight drug trafficking.